RUMFORD — The local man accused of cutting off the tail of an opossum has died.

Erik Matthews, 32, was hit by a car while walking on Route 302 in Windham shortly before 4 a.m on July 20.

Windham police said Matthews was in the roadway when he was hit by Demetrio Lenoardo, 46, of Methuen, Massachusetts.

Matthews was taken to a hospital, where he was initially listed in critical condition. Windham police said Matthews died Sunday.

The incident is still under investigation. Police said they do not believe speed or alcohol were factors in the accident.

Matthews had been summonsed for animal cruelty, a civil violation, a few days before he was struck. He had faced up to a $2,500 fine and could have been required to pay for the care and medical treatment of the injured opossum, now living at Misfits Rehab in Auburn.

Matthews was accused of cutting off the tail of the opossum and leaving the animal for dead earlier this summer. The opossum, named Percy by a local family, had roamed a Rumford neighborhood for a couple of years and was popular among some residents.


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